Delivered by STACK July, 2013: We Are Here
Travel magazines have a tendency towards the exotic and the luxurious, but We Are Here is different. It focuses on ordinary people doing interesting things in the cities it visits, and is proud to claim that all its photography is taken on (or in some cases processed through) a mobile phone. Its off-beat city reporting makes for a fascinating read, and it looks great too.
The Stack Interview
What is We Are Here?
It is a long-form postcard from the city or district that we cover. It is a travel magazine in one sense, but completely different from the majority of travel magazines – it’s not glossy, or chic; it won’t tell you where to go or what to wear, but it will give you a deeper sense of what the place is like. And hopefully encourage people to go there too – although that is a secondary aim.
What makes it different to the rest?
The aim is to focus on one city or district each issue, all done in a deliberately lo-fi way – so all the photographs are taken on my iPhone, the design is simple, and nobody featured is promoting anything. I want to leave people with a sense of place – a feeling that they understand the places we cover more after reading We Are Here.
Who makes We Are Here?
Me, my designer Roui, who fixes up my crude attempts at design, and a small team of freelancers – although as we move from city to city, they will change each issue. The idea is for me to able to handle all aspects, from design to marketing, and be mobile – if I can turn this into a viable lifestyle business, I will be very happy.
Who reads it?
People who want to look beyond the obvious; who want to get a sense of a place that is not dominated by articles on the top five spas, or interviews with people who are trying sell something. And hopefully by people who like well-crafted magazines.
Why do you work in magazines?
Magazines give you control – working for a newspaper you are far less in control of content, and it’s much harder to be innovative in design. I love print, and am interested in discovering what a magazine can do – can it do what a novel does, or a photography book or a documentary? I think that is one of the most interesting aspects for me – to try and push the boundaries of the medium.
Aside from the print magazine, what else do you do?
I edit Open Skies, the in-flight magazine for Emirates. I also run a small publishing company called Wndr Media in Dubai – I set that up so I could publish books and magazines.
What would you change about We Are Here if you could?
Nothing. The beauty of being in complete control is that anything I want to change, I already have. I am sure it will evolve in future years, but I want it to retain the aesthetic it has now.
Where do you see We Are Here in five years?
Hopefully still around, and hopefully a better magazine – with a decent group of subscribers who enjoy finding it in their post box every two months or so. There are ideas in the works for fashion spin-offs, but for now, this is the main focus.